[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] ruled [decision text, in French, PDF] on Friday that former Serb nationalist politician and war crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj [case materials; JURIST news archive] has received all guarantees of due process and fair proceedings available, and his trial will not be discontinued. In July, Seselj alleged that he was being denied “speedy process,” as he has been in custody since February 2003, and that the ICTY had denied him the right to defend himself by not fully funding his defense. Seselj made similar claims in 2009 [press release], which were also refuted by the court under the same reasoning.
The decision also stated that Seselj’s trial has been ongoing since his last motion was decided in February 2010, without any notable delay. A status conference on Seselj’s case is expected later this month.
The Chamber further recalls that in its Decision of 10 February 2010, rejecting the Motion of the Accused for abuse of process, she stressed that the international and European case law clearly establishes that there is no set time limit beyond which would be considered an unfair trial because of an excessive delay.
Seselj pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in July to a third set of contempt charges for failing to remove confidential information from his website in violation of a tribunal order. The Trial Chamber filed an order in lieu of an indictment in May against Seselj for his failure to comply with a May 9 order to remove from his website three books he authored and five confidential filings [defense website] that reveal the identities of protected witnesses who testified against him. In May, the ICTY rejected [JURIST report] Seselj’s attempt to have the charges against him dismissed, finding sufficient evidence for the trial to continue. He is charged with 14 counts of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. Seselj’s war crimes trial, which began in 2006, resumed in early 2010, after being delayed [JURIST reports] for nearly a year over fears that witnesses were being intimidated. In February, Seselj went on trial [JURIST report] on charges that he released the names of 11 ICTY witnesses in violation of a confidentiality order. Last May, the ICTY appeals division upheld a 2009 contempt verdict [JURIST reports] against Seselj for revealing the identities of other witnesses that were supposed to remain confidential. Seselj is accused of establishing rogue paramilitary units affiliated with the SRS, which are believed to have massacred and otherwise persecuted Croats and other non-Serbs during the Balkan conflict.
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